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Saturday, February 11, 2012

One and Only

"Memories are precious," Stella adds. "They help tell us who we are." - p. 53
I love that thought. It sums up how I think about my past, the people I love and have loved, the events that have shaped my life, the scents that transport me to places and times, the places that mean so much. This photo reminds me of the laughter that occurred just before my middle son took the photograph. He had been pointing the camera toward himself, looking into the wrong spot, and closing the eye that was supposed to be looking. My sweet grandmother was laughing so hard - and my son caught that moment on film as well!

The words were spoken by a non-human. Stella is an elephant in Katherine Applegate's latest novel The One and Only Ivan, a book I have been longing to read since its release last month. Stella is also the best friend of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who narrates the book, lives next to her, and is an artist. Really. Along with a few other creatures, they are captives in a shopping mall circus display. Aside from their friendship with each other and Bob, a stray dog, their experiences with other animals are limited. 

Yet there is hope for them. When the circus/mall owner acquires a baby elephant named Ruby, Ivan knows something has to change. He needs to change Ruby's story. 

I cannot begin to share the plot because there are so many wonderful things to savor, that cause laughter and tears, and that make the reader contemplate humanity - and because I want others to read this book. It is an excellent story. 

"Because she remembers everything, Stella knows many stories. I like colorful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings. But any story will do." - p. 63

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